Oh my, December 2013 was an exciting time at Vegan Sparkles HQ!
It was the month I passed my final exam for my Institute for Integrative Nutrition studies and graduated as a Certified Holistic Health Coach!
It was quite a year. I receive a ton of questions about this course, and am now a proud Ambassador for the school, so I figured what better way to celebrate graduation than to share my thoughts and experiences with you.
So grab yourself a berry smoothie, beautiful, and pull up a chair…
It all started around the end of 2012. The world’s largest nutrition school – The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York – somehow caught my attention. I don’t remember exactly where I first saw or heard about it but I was impressed to learn about their line-up of lecturers and became even more intrigued when I discovered that some of my Health Heroes (including Sarah Wilson, Jess Ainscough, Melissa Ambrosini and Miranda Kerr) were graduates.
IIN is more than a school; it’s a movement of over 100,000 students and graduates in 122 countries worldwide.
Our mission is to play a crucial role in improving health and happiness, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world.
Deep down, I’ve always been a bit of a Nutrition Geek. Not that I’ve always been healthy. Far from it. But nutrition always interested me. I loved the idea of enrolling but wasn’t sure I’d be able to juggle the coursework. My schedule was already hectic with my corporate job as a Cost Engineer and my food blogging hobby.
But, high on the excitement of 2012 ending (a crappy year for me) and the promise of a new year full of possibilities, I decided to take the plunge and go for it!
I didn’t know if I’d become a Health Coach but I definitely wanted to be the best blogger I could be. I figured the course would at least teach me more about health and nutrition that I could pass on to my beautiful readers.
One year later, I was blissfully happy I made that fateful decision. Throughout my studies, I learnt and grew so much more than I could have ever imagined. And to my surprise, I fell in love with the idea of being a Health Coach (and with coconuts! and green juice!).
IIN provided the knowledge and skills I needed to start coaching clients and supporting them with making positive lifestyle changes. I was surprised to find that the curriculum not only focuses on health, but also delves much deeper. It plunges into spirituality and how to help clients break through their fears and limiting beliefs, and heal themselves with self-acceptance and love. I was also delighted to find lessons full of practical business advice to support students to launch themselves into a brand new career as a Health Coach (if that’s their dream).
In September 2013, I gathered up my courage and took the plunge again. I followed my heart and resigned from my corporate role. It was scary leaving the (relative) security of a highly paid, long-term position, and in running my own business, I’ve worked harder than ever before. But it’s also been incredibly rewarding, humbling, and fulfilling. There have been tears of frustration and tears of overflowing joy. It’s been all-at-once insanely confronting, maddening, thrilling, and awe-inspiring.
Three years on, I have to pinch myself sometimes to believe I’m working in a career I’m truly passionate about and living a life I love. I’m a published author, and spend my days speaking at live events, coaching my beautiful clients from around the world (via the magic of Skype), and guiding my life-changing programs named Sexy Sobriety and The Sparkle Project.
The program runs for 1 year: 40 modules over 40 weeks, plus study breaks leading up to the 4 exams. Each week, about 3 hours of lectures from incredible experts in the field like Arianna Huffington, Gabrielle Bernstein, David Wolfe and Deepak Chopra (some of which were so moving, they made me cry!) are sent to your IIN iPhone/iPad app.
While I was still in my corporate job, I listened to the lectures on my iPhone as I walked to and from work each day. What a way to start the day! Inspiration Central. Sometimes I grinned at birds in the park. Sometimes I got teary at the traffic lights. I loved every second of it.
Weekly assignments usually involve experimenting on yourself. When you’re encouraged to experiment on yourself, something quite magical happens. Not only do you gain first-hand experience, which ultimately makes you a better coach, but you also begin to develop a deeper, spiritual connection with your body. You learn to actually tune in, listen to, and respect it (something I only wish I’d learnt years before!).
There are live group coaching calls with a Business Mentor to support you. You choose the timing of these calls at the start of the course. You also gain access to the IIN community via social media discussion groups so you can connect with and learn from classmates around the world.
The course covers over 100 dietary theories and above all, teaches the principle of bio-individuality – that no two bodies are the same. As a student, you gain access to an incredibly comprehensive reference library so you can delve deeper and choose a specialty. You also receive access to web and live events featuring the world’s leading health experts. Plus, your very own website to launch your new career.
So there you have it, ladylove! If it weren’t for my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I wouldn’t be living my passion or helping women to create happier, healthier lives. I wouldn’t feel so completely fulfilled by my work, and I wouldn’t have formed beautiful friendships with like-minded souls like Vanessa, Emily, Donna or Claire.
I adored every minute of my studies (well, maybe not the part where I crammed to finish all my course work before the final exam, ha!, but all the rest), so I was sad when it was all over, but also incredibly excited about the future.
If you’re as passionate about wellness as I am, and are thinking about becoming a Health Coach, click HERE to sample a Nutrition Class or HERE to download a free Program Guide from IIN. I’ve covered the basics here, but there’s so much more to learn. Check out their Curriculum Guide that goes into more detail on the curriculum and opportunities you’ll have as a practicing Health Coach.